Pros and Cons of Moving to Ireland


Ireland is a small country with an enormous amount to offer; not least of which is a rich culture, diverse artistic talent and lively people.

Ireland - Pros and Cons of Living in IrelandThe “Celtic Tiger” which saw the economy and property market in Ireland boom from 1995 to 2007, took Ireland from one of the EU’s poorer countries to one of the wealthiest. The recession that quickly followed has gripped the nation ever since, and has been the focus of debate and criticism from all over the world. While this has affected jobs, the economy and the way people do business, it has not affected the personality and vitality of the country and its people. Ultimately, Ireland has faced countless struggles in its long and sometimes troubled past, and this is another one it is sure to overcome. 
 
While there may be problems with the economy and the property market, the Irish people have much more experience with adapting to such changes. So while there may be some ghost estates, and an incredibly tough job market - the people, culture and lifestyle here outweigh many of life’s difficulties. In the end this is Ireland, and it is beautiful.
 
Below are some pros and cons to living in Ireland.
 

Accommodation in Ireland

 

PRO: Available for any budget

 
Depending on how much you can afford per week or month, you will be able to find it. There are plenty of websites available that advertise local housing in Ireland. If you need a townhouse for your family, or just need a room in a share house, you can be sure it’s available. Determining where you want to live is the hard part. Finding suitable accommodation for your budget is easy. Typically most places come furnished, including couches, tables, dressers and usually a new mattress.
 

CON: Ghost estates, cheap rent far from transport

 
During the final years of the ‘Celtic Tiger’, new residential and commercial property began developing all over the country. As the recession came on, the cranes that once littered the skyline were coming down just as quickly as they went up. Now all these townhouses and properties are available, but no one can afford to buy them. Some of these properties have taken on the term “ghost estates”, as you may be the only resident in a cul-de-sac of 20 houses. So if you’re getting an unbelievable price on a house, there might be a reason. Make sure you do your research. 
 
If you’re renting, take a good look at how close to public transport you are. The better the price, the farther you usually are from public transport in Ireland. 
 

Culture shock in Ireland

 

PRO: Proximity to Europe

 
If you want to branch out and view what Europe has to offer, Ireland is a perfect launching pad for travelling. In two hours you could be in Barcelona, Rome in three hours, and for a really short hop, the UK is hardly 45 minutes away. It’s pretty amazing when you get to tell people “I’m spending the weekend in Paris”. If the reason for your move or your trip is to visit other cultures, this is a place great to start. After all, it’s also one of the closest European countries to the US.
 

CON: The weather

 
There is a reason the Irish say “You can see every season in a day” and it is because of Ireland’s size and location in the middle of the Atlantic, which means the weather can vary numerous times a day. It can be sunny, raining or a mixture of both.  There is a weather condition here referred to by the Irish as “sun showers” - which is when it is sunny and raining at the same time. On the plus side this is usually when you see Ireland’s famous rainbows, and when the sunny days are out it really makes it worth it. Although it rarely snows in Ireland, if you are unprepared the weather can definitely be a shock, make sure you pack a rain jacket – regardless of the time of year you visit.
 

Working and doing business in Ireland

 

PRO: Annual leave

 
By law, if you work full time in Ireland you’re entitled to 20 days holiday. This, believe it or not, is pretty much standard depending on the county. You can’t get away with not going on holidays as it’s the law. Most employers will also award extra vacation days the longer you are in employment.
 

CON: Financial crisis

 
The EU has plunged into serious financial woes. Ireland is part of the EU, and therefore can’t escape this. Unemployment is high, redundancies are a common thing in the papers, and job competition is unbelievable. If you’re coming here for a holiday, make sure you have the funds prepared. At the moment the US dollar is trading stronger against the Euro than it has in a long time, so this will be of benefit to those coming from the States. If you’re coming looking for work, be prepared for stiff competition.
 

Cost of living in Ireland

 

CON: Cost of living is high

 
Everything is in Euro, unemployment is high and the government seems to take more each year. Naturally, the further you travel from Dublin the more you will get for the Euro in your pocket.
 

Safety in Ireland

 

PRO: It’s safe, much less gun crime

 
Ireland is very safe. Guns are illegal unless you own a farm, and then you can only obtain a gun suitable for a farm. Naturally, some are smuggled in, and you read about shootings every now and then hyped up by the media. Compared to the US, gun crime is near non-existent and the annual crime statistics released by the Central Statistic’s Office (CSO) backs this up. However, like anywhere, there are bad areas and trouble if you want to find it.
 

CON: Less police

 
There is not a large visible police presence, and the response times when they’re needed can be slow. Police do patrol the bad areas, and they have a knack of arriving when they are absolutely needed as if they were summoned from thin air. Just beware.
 

Healthcare in Ireland

 

PRO: Healthcare is accessible

 
Both private and public healthcare are available in Ireland. The public healthcare system is funded by general taxes. If you need immediate attention you’ll probably have to pay a subsidised fee depending on age, income, disability etc., but you will be seen to and the cost will be minor. Otherwise, if it’s something that can wait, expect to go on a waiting list. There are numerous private healthcare providers you can pay for with services such as private rooms and no waiting lists.
 

CON: Waiting lists and A&E delays

 
The waiting lists for medical procedures can be as long as a few weeks. However, if you need to go to the A&E (ER) for something non-life-threatening, expect a delay you’ve not experienced before. A standard wait in the A&E before being treated is going to be between 10 and 14 hours. This obviously deters a majority of those with serious conditions from going to the A&E. This is an ongoing source of debate and frustration in Ireland.
 

Lifestyle in Ireland

 

PRO: Pubs, pubs and more pubs

 
Guiness - Moving to Ireland
Ireland doesn’t mess around when it comes to its pubs. Take a walk through any city here, and you’ll find more pubs per square foot then anything else. The variety of pubs available to have a drink in is overwhelming. Whether you prefer a small quiet pub with a handful of patrons, or a full on standing room only, dancing/scream over the noise pub, Ireland has it. Unlike most US states, after a certain time here, it is not a requirement to serve food with alcohol.
 

CON: There isn’t much of a social scene without alcohol

 
The lifestyle in Ireland has incorporated alcohol into its very core. This is great if you fancy a drink, but if you don’t, there’s not really much to accommodate. There are of course sites to see and do all over the country that don’t involve alcohol and Ireland is famous for its theatres, music, sites and people. But ultimately, the pub is the number one destination.
 

Transportation in Ireland

 

PRO: Cheap rental cars and plenty of public transportation

 
Ireland’s size makes travelling the country very easy. So when you want to get around, it’s relatively easy depending on how you want to travel. Rental cars are incredibly cheap, buses run all over the country, as do trains. The longest you may be travelling non-stop here would be around five hours, and that’s from one end of the country to the other. Public transportation in Ireland is heavily relied on. If you make your way over here for a holiday, pony up the cash for a rental. If you’re moving here, make sure you figure out your local train and bus times as both are readily available.
 

CON: Delays and expensive fuel

 
Ireland is small, and so are its roads. There are roughly 4.6 million people in this country and approximately a third of them live in Dublin. Expect the usual traffic, and if you take the inner city rail line – the “DART” (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) prepare for daily delays and stoppages in services (especially during rush hour). Petrol in Ireland is very expensive.
 
If anything other then rain comes along, like snow, the country spirals in to mayhem. Ireland doesn’t generally budget for salt trucks and snow ploughs. The snow gets compacted by the cars, which then becomes ice, and it’s nearly impossible to get anywhere. The DART will sit on the tracks with a full train for an extended period of time if it needs to or just cancel services altogether. But this doesn’t mean you’re not expected at work. There is absolutely no plan in place to deal with this. So delays or not, work isn’t going to have a two-hour delay, or the day off due to extreme conditions. You’re still expected to get in and to get home, and all at your own risk. It can be very problematic, dangerous, frustrating and extremely time consuming.

Our Ireland Expert

KevinCooleen's picture
United States
Dublin, Ireland
Born in Washington DC and raised in Arlington Virginia. My mother was born in Dublin and emmigrated to the US in the 1960s....
KevinCooleen

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